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Dancing in the Dark

16 Apr 2018, 21:01 UTC
Dancing in the Dark
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Dancing in the dark?A few weeks ago, van Dokkum et al. published a paper in Nature about the ultra-diffuse galaxy NGC1052-DF2 (closed access, but you can read a great summary here). Using the spectra of globular clusters in this galaxy, the authors concluded that NGC1052-DF2 has a dynamical mass that is very close to the mass of its stars—suggesting that NGC1052-DF2 has much less dark matter than expected for its stellar mass!This exciting result has generated a lot of buzz (including lots of Twitter debates and even some memes like the featured image), and astronomers have plenty of follow-up questions. First of all, how real is this result? And if NGC1052-DF2 really does lack dark matter, how could such a galaxy form? Finally, how do alternative theories that don’t include dark matter explain this galaxy (and any other galaxies that might be like it)?It’s only been a few weeks, but already several scientists have begun to write papers in response to van Dokkum et al.’s paper. Today, we’ll watch a scientific debate unfold by taking a look at some of these responses.
Paper I: Sadistic statisticsTitle: Current velocity data on dwarf galaxy NGC1052-DF2 do not constrain it to lack dark ...

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